In my last post I gave my first impressions on the Canon 7D Mark II once I had used the camera in a real world situation. In that post I covered how the camera handled at a professional rugby match. The only real disappointment I had was that the lights at the stadium were very good and meant that I didn’t need to push the ISO beyond 1600 to get the shutter speed and aperture needed to isolate and freeze the action. As a commissioned match I didn’t want to experiment too much as it was key to capture the required images. This weekend I didn’t have a commission so looked for a game to attend that would test the ISO capabilities more. I received accreditation for a game at Sandy Park featuring local rivals Exeter and Bath in the LV Cup.
I recently took delivery of Canon’s new 7D Mark II APS-C camera, I got to take the camera out with me to a Professional Rugby Match on Friday 31st October. As the 7D Mark II is designed as a sports and action camera this was an ideal opportunity to put it through it’s paces. This isn’t a technical pixel peeping review of the camera more first a impressions feel for how it performed.
As a freelance photographer I have to buy my own equipment, I currently shoot with two Canon 5D Mark III’s but for sport I really need something with a higher frame rate and deeper buffer. I was giving serious consideration to the 1DX but that is a significant investment so when the rumours of a 7D Mark II starting getting stronger I held off until I was certain that the camera was a reality. Canon announced the 7D Mark II on 15th September and I pre-ordered one as soon as they were listed on the WEX Photographic website. The specifications of the camera looked exactly what; I needed AF on a par or better than the 5D3; 10 frames per second with a huge buffer and the added benefit of a 1.6 crop factor. I owned the original 7D and in fairness it is a great camera but the image quality suffered a lot when the ISO was raised beyond around 1250, in my experience. So the one thing that concerned me about the 7D Mark II was if the image quality would be good enough for my purposes.
A selection of images from a recent wedding in Oxfordshire. The weather was very changeable as we were bathed in sunshine one minute and running from the rain the next. However, the weather didn’t dampen the spirits and everyone had a wonderful day.
As a family we normally go to Italy for our summer break, our favourite and normal destination is the beautiful Lake Garda. This year for a change we decided to take in Tuscany and found an amazing 14th Century Tower in the quiet village of Montecatini Val di Cecina. The owner of the tower Luca was very helpful and friendly, I would recommend anyone to stay there it was a real treat. Apart from the incredible scenery in Italy the other reason we love to visit is the fact that the people there are so incredibly friendly and welcoming, they’re pretty laid back too. We have decided that we will live there one day when the kids have grown up and are no longer dependant upon us (just don’t tell them).
Whilst we were in Tuscany we took in Volterra, Siena, Florence and Pisa. I have posted some photographs before of the places that we have visited but I wanted to combine the whole trip in to one post to also include some photographs that were not in the original posts, for example the landscapes. Sadly for us the trip to Pisa was during a very wet day and whilst we did go up the tower and around the cathedral it didn’t make for good photographs. However, we have already decided to return to Tuscany next year for our break so will go back hopefully when the weather is more conducive to photography.
Normally I take my Canon DSLRs on holiday and a selection of lenses, but of late I have been working with the FujiFilm X system cameras and decided to take only my X-E2 and three lenses, the 10-24mm F4, 35mm F1.4 and the 56mm F1.2. I very much enjoy using this system, it really feels to me like a camera with soul and is so simple to use. For the kind of photography displayed here the camera is more than capable of creating amazing pictures and will be using the system more and more. Also I find that when taking street portraits or candid photographs the size and appearance of the X-E2 is less obtrusive than a big DSLR and makes me far less conspicuous.
So here is a set of my favourite photographs from our trip, they include some pictures of the incredible scenery that we saw nearby and indeed from the tower itself. Please fell free to view and share the link and if so inclined leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
On 26th July 2014 I had the pleasure of photographing the wedding of Gavin and Ceri Whitelock at the Trinity Congregational Church in Pontywaun. The weather was unbelievably kind with sunshine right from the start, although being British you could say it may have been a little too warm. The reception took place at the Old Barn in Langstone., everyone had a wonderful day and I wish Gavin and Ceri all the best for their future together.
Here are a selected few photographs from the day, if you wish to leave Gavin and Ceri a message please do so at the bottom of the page.
Today we spent the day in Florence (Firenze) we got there early so that we could get around the Ufizzi gallery before the rush. After that we spent the day around the Duomo hence it’s predominance in the pictures. Jude and I went up the Campanile and the Duomo around 1738 steps up and down to reach the top of both of those.
All taken with the FufjiFilm X-E2 again showing how versatile the camera is with the right lenses.
A day doesn’t do justice to this beautiful city so hopefully we will get back there soon.
Today we spent some time in Siena also in Tuscany. This was a 90 minute drive from our tower but well worth it. Siena is famous for it’s Palio race held twice a year in July and August. We didn’t get to see that as it has already taken place in July and we will have gone by the time the August one takes place. I have added that to my bucket list as I would love to photograph the race. The old gentleman in the photographs is the proprietor of a local shop, he looks asleep but I asked his permission to take the photograph and he agreed as I pressed the shutter he closed his eyes in an almost serene manner.
All taken on my FujiFilm X-E2 rapidly becoming my favourite camera!
I hope you enjoy these photographs, we are having a quiet day tomorrow but will be headed to Florence on Friday.
We are staying in a 14th Century Medieval tower in the Tuscany village of Montecatini Val di Cecina. We ventured out to the nearest large town Volterra for an afternoon of sightseeing. I took my FujiFilm X-E2 out for the day and took the entire set of images with that. So here are a few images from the day I hope they give you a feel for this amazing part of the world.
As a photographer it is important to keep pushing yourself and developing your skills. One way to do this is to take on personal projects that aren’t funded by client commissions. In doing this you can try out new ideas and techniques without the fear of failure. I recently embarked on such a project but it has grown from being a small personal project into something much bigger.
For me to be able to realise the project and make it happen I need to get some funding to pay for the trip and expenses whilst capturing the images. The project is will allow me to create a photobook with fine art images of Rodeo Cowboys and Cowgirls in action and behind the scenes. For a UK photographer that is quite difficult as we don’t have rodeos in our part of the world. I became fascinated with rodeo from afar and have since attended the biggest one day rodeo at the Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington Texas. That was an amazing experience and has simply intensified my interest in what can only be described as the most amazing sport.
I have been working on the project for some time and have enlisted the support of my friend Skip Cohen who will be writing the foreword for the final photo book. In addition to that I have been in discussions with UK and USA children’s charities who will be the recipient of a percentage of profits from sales one the book. I will announce the two charities in the next week. Further support has been provided by Fujifilm UK and I will be using their amazing cameras for the vast majority of photographs for the project.
The project is really important to me and I hope that it will raise awareness for this incredible sport this side of the pond. The Cowboys and Cowgirls are the most down to earth people you could wish to meet and have time for everyone.
However, it is really important for people to realise that I can only do the project if I get the funding I have set on my Kickstarter campaign. If the project gets to the end date without meeting the target I don’t get a single penny and the project won’t happen. Therefore if you have enjoyed any of the photographs on my blog or on the Facebook page it would be great if you could back the project. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, although the prices are in British Pounds (£) you can pledge Kickstarter will convert the amount to your local currency when the project completes. Additionally it is important to note that the pledged funds are not taken until the campaign ends and if it is successfully funded.
The project can be found at Kickstarter please click the Back This Project Button and pledge what you can from £1 ($1.60) upwards.
Here are some of the promotional images from the project I hoe you enjoy them and help me to make another trip to get enough to make the book happen.